The brand spanking new Ricoh R8 is a follow-up in name to one of our favourite compact cameras of last year, the , although they look nothing alike. Ricoh has dropped the Caplio branding, and where the R7 was the consummate contemporary compact -- in terms of physical design, at least -- the 10-megapixel R8 harks back to the history of photography with a more retro look.
Our model is black with a brushed gunmental top and gunmetal buttons. The R7's nippy joystick has been squashed and flattened -- like a cartoon character having an anvil dropped on their head -- to make a more thumb-friendly control.
The thumb control gives you one-touch access to exposure compensation, white balance and ISO level. There's no full manual control, sadly, but you do get a wealth of bracketing options, several burst modes, and the ability to record two sizes of image simultaneously.
We don't mind the horrible spidery noise carried over from the R8 that the zoom makes, as it's a pleasingly wide angle 28mm in 35mm focal length, with a whopping 7.1x zoom.
Other features include a mode dial that spins 360 degrees in both directions -- hurray! -- and more seriously, two customisable shooting modes. These allow you to save your own settings for quick access.
The Ricoh R8 will be available from March for around £250. Our review is forthcoming. -Rich Trenholm
Update: Read our full.